Catching Fire better than The Hunger Games

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4.5 out of 5 stars

Some of you might recall I reviewed Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” last semester, as it was the book chosen for incoming freshmen to receive as part of the K-State Book Network program. I was pleasantly surprised with it, being a young adult novel and all, and gave it four and a half out of five stars. I had the opportunity to read the second book in the series, “Catching Fire,” over winter break. Again, I was impressed.

“Catching Fire” starts off a few months after the end of “The Hunger Games,” following our tortured heroine, Katniss Everdeen, as she tries to cope with the aftermath of being forced to fight other children to the death for the entertainment of the evil Capitol. Katniss learns that a stunt she pulled during the games has been interpreted by some of the other districts as an act of rebellion, and there is now talk of unrest and possible uprisings. Katniss becomes a pawn in a complicated game, torn between trying to cooperate with President Snow to protect her family from the repercussions of her actions and her own desires, which range from wanting to flee to wanting to take action.

A few of the plot twists were a little predictable, but it is a young adult novel, after all. Overall, the plot was complicated, well thought out and, most importantly, enthralling. A few of the characters seemed more developed in the first book than in “Catching Fire” while others, namely Katniss and Haymitch, gain more depth in this book. Death, torture and other dark concepts are featured heavily in the book. For the most part, Collins does a good job of showing these things for what they are — despicable — but there were a few times where I felt a sort of disconnect from what was going on, and I wasn’t sure if it was because the character felt disconnected, or because it just wasn’t described in terms of feelings the way I would have liked.

I give “Catching Fire” four and a half out of five stars. It is better than the first book, “The Hunger Games,” but I still think Collins could aim higher. I look forward to reading the third book, “Mockingjay,” to see what happens next.

 

Karen Ingram is a junior in English.

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